Merrittonians came out in force to Tuesday night’s council meeting, sharing their thoughts with the Mayor and Council on a possible rezoning. The public hearing, scheduled during the August 23 regular meeting, saw the public viewing gallery packed with onlookers.
A former CN Railway track, running along Quilchena Avenue, the subject property was purchased by the City of Merritt in 2013. The property is currently zoned as Low Density Residential (R2) and Park & Cemetery (P1). The proposed rezoning hopes to make way for more housing – specifically temporary housing for those affected by the floods. The City tentatively plans to put 3D printed homes and a walking path in that area. The current P1 zoning would remain, but Small Parcel Residential (R3) and Medium Density Residential (R7) would be added. The property itself flooded during the November 2021 floods, prompting concern from citizens about its new proposed use.
A total of eight locals addressed council in-person on Tuesday night, along with 15 letters submitted beforehand. All were against the rezoning. The main concerns heard by council from locals were the location of the property in the floodplain, the width of the lot in comparison to other city properties, and the shift away from the property’s intended use as a part of the City’s Active Transportation Plan. Several individuals cited concerns about prioritizing the rezoning over other flood mitigation and recovery initiatives, with others concerned about who would occupy the temporary housing after flood-affected residents are back in their homes.
Council will now consider the input gathered during the public hearing, and vote on the rezoning at the next meeting of council, scheduled for September 20, 2022.